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WGA strike and the value of TV networks

Oy.

TV writers have yet to learn what all us tech-heads learned years ago. The if-you-build-it-they-will-come strategy only works for massively useful tools/utilities like search or maps or email or IM. It never works for entertainment. And certainly doesn’t work for video. Why do the writers think that all they have to do is add another few hundred professionally-produced boring videos to the web and they will get rich?

Producing a TV show for the web is not materially cheaper than producing it for TV.

There has never been a web-only hit show. Lonelygirl15? Are you kidding? Quarterlife? The only web video hits are Chocolate Rain and some talking cats and a few other castoffs from “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” There’s never been a hit web serial. And there’s never been a hit web show that get within shouting distance of the lowest-rated show on broadcast or cable TV.

And I think the reason is, you still need a network. There’s more to a network than a bunch of towers and frequencies. That’s why Yahoo is still in business. A network is a content platform and a social platform. There is value for a show to be a part of a well-programmed network. And nobody’s figured out how to program a web network yet.

More later. It’s Friday evening and I’m obviously crabby. But you get the point.

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